NOTE: This blog was written after game 5. Though just now made the home screen.
Sorry, but not sorry.
Dominique Ducharme still needs to go. His failure to play the kids in lieu of veterans who will have no bearing on this team after the season is beyond crazy.
From game one he had fans collectively scratching their heads at him holding out Kotkaniemi, Romanov and Caulfield. There was, and is, no rational for it. It's not like he could turn to them and say,
"Hey guys, the team is doing really well right now, so I think it best if you guys sit back and watch."
The team was horrible, as it had been horrible all year with the exception of the first month.
They won the first game on a sheer fluke; sorry Byron, that's all it was. The Evans injury forced him to put KK in. It wasn't done because he thought it necessary. I think it would have been interesting to see what he would have done if he had not been injured.
As for Caulfield, he didn't slot in until the 3rd game. Is it any surprise that this team started to look better once the kids started to play? Sure they still lost game four but at least they started to look more dangerous.
Moving on to the defence, Romanov STILL hasn't seen a game. We know he wouldn't be playing as he was never with the regulars practicing. There is nothing that can be said by the coach that rationalizes keeping him out if he is healthy. Which he is, as he admitted as much in his press conference.
A blind man could see that the only ones actually generating chances are the young guns of the team, ie: Suzuki, KK, and Caulfield. The "Vets" have done nothing, and continued to do nothing, with the exception of Perry. So why not give Romanov a chance?
It was and is, simply mind boggling.
The two "saviors" on defence in the shape of Merril and Gustaffson that Ducharme decided were much better options than Romanov played a combined 20 minutes in game 5. In the next they each played under seven minutes. LIKE WHAT? Why not slot him in at that point?!
Yes, since originally writing this blog they have won and advanced, but that has been in spite of the coaching. The game six OT was nothing but luck for the coach. The top 4 D were gassed and it was all Toronto. If Kotkaniemi,( hmmm a young gun) had not broken free and taken it for the team it would have been Toronto's game eventually.
Ducharme has been made to look far better than he has due to luck and the play of the youngsters. Whether he is bowing to pressure from above, or simply following his own misguided strategy, Ducharme has proved he is no better, and far worse than the coaches who came before him.
He needs to go, regardless of what happens in the rest of the playoffs.
Just my thoughts, but I'm tired of seeing this team underutilize the few assets they have to play.
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Seems you can't really argue with winning. But there you are.
I know i seem like a gloomy gus, and perhaps some of it can be attributed to him still learning, but the team won those games in spite of him. Don't get me wrong, im happy with the wins, but I don't like how they came, nor the underlying weakness in the teams structure. Because of the wins, they most likely won't be addressed in the same manner and we will go next year with the same issues. I'd love to be wrong, but its been along time of watching the same patterns.
Ducharme made many smart decisions this playoff year. Romanov didn't play, because he is not particularly good on special teams. Merrill was in for the penalty kill and Gustafsson was in for the power play. These situations were used to give the "big 4" some rest. KK has been inconsistent and there were other more consistent players to start with. Caufield eventually took Tatar's spot in the lineup, but Tatar started because of the familiarity with Gallagher and Danault.
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What has he done right? Just took them to a cup final.
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